US offers unarmed UAVs to Pakistan


During his current visit to Pakistan, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates offered to supply its military with 12 RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, often referred to as drones). The Shadow is unarmed. From the American Forces Press Service:

Gates declined to discuss drone activities directly, but offered, “I will say that these unmanned aerial vehicles have been extremely useful to us, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.”

The United States is working to provide the Pakistanis their own intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, he said, and considering providing tactical UAVs – 12 unarmed RQ-7 Shadows funded through the Pakistan counterinsurgency fund.

These capabilities would help the Pakistani military better monitor activities along the country’s porous border with Afghanistan, he said.

Pakistani officials have repeatedly asked the US to supply the nation with the armed Predators and Reapers so its military could carry out the strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda, while these officials have continued to denounce the US airstrikes in Pakistan as a violation of sovereignty that serves only to kill civilians.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • These UAV’s will prove to be very handy in infiltrating jihadists into India.
    The UAVs will give an unprecedented cost-effective and real-time means for the Pakistani military to monitor the border region.
    Of course, Pakistanis could monitor the NATO/Afgan outposts across the border in Afghanistan too, and pass along the info. to the Taliban.
    Mr. Gates, who announced the UAV offer, is in danger of becoming a gateway to jihad.
    Just a reminder here:
    Pakistani army’s motto: faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah.

  • Charley says:

    I doubt that, MM. These slow moving aircraft can easily be shot down if they get too close to the India border.

  • Jaydev,India says:

    Pak is already using its UAVs to check out new infiltration routes(to push militant Islamists like LeT) along India-Pak border especially in Sir Creek area. Shadow RQ-7B has a “drop launch” capability of 2 Hellfires. About shooting down UAVs is no child’s Hilly areas(in Kashmir) especially with low RCS..IAI Searcher-IIs,Predators and Shadow IIs are for all practical purposes very stealthy and invisible..

  • Danny says:

    How soon are the Chinese arriving to reverse engineer American technology?

  • Jimmy says:

    Charley, you don’t just get it do you? Even if America gives just a simple pistol to the Pakistan Army to fight the taliban, you can be 100% certain that it will be pointed towards India and not the Taliban. WHEN WILL THE US UNDERSTAND THAT ANY WEAPONS GIVEN BY IT TO PAKISTAN END UP HURTING INDIA?? India has the capability to counter any Pakistani misdaventure, no doubt! But WHY???! Why should India (which is a friend and well wisher of the US-NATO efforts in AF-PAK) suffer for the arms that US continues to gift the Pakistan Army? The drones can easily be used to spot patrols of the Indian Army on the border and find clear areas for the Pakistan Army ISI to push in murderous Jihadis into India. Pakistan Army is hoodwinking the US…it should be quite clear by now…and yet the US continues to treat it like a spoilt child…showering it with lollipops when what it needs is a good smack on the bottom!

  • T davis says:

    With the confusion in the pakistan army of who’s on who’s side these uav’s could come back to haunt the coalition forces.If we could monitor the flights and vids that are being taken by the pakistani’s coalition forces may sleep a little safer.

  • If the countries involved are different, you would be right.
    Knowing India and Pakistan as I do, I stand by what I have said.
    Pakistanis have a long history of provoking India all the time and get away almost all the time.
    If India gets a strong leader (like Narendra Modi of Gujarat), Pakistan’s “outlook” can be turned around. As I have said in my book, in long-term, to mitigate Pakistan’s threat, the US has to work toward getting strong leaders in power in India.
    But to think along these lines is a bit too taxing for our establishment. You only have to take a look at the Pentagon’s Fort Hood report.
    In the mean time, the murderously-inclined spoiled one gets what it wants!

  • Abheek says:

    I would agree with MM. This a potentially dangerous move by US gov

  • Charley says:

    Optical resolution in aerial recon is important, but you need to know where to look. The naked eye can see a needle, but that does not make finding a needle in a haystack any easier.
    I am not sure these unarmed drones can do anything that the satellites cannot. That’s all.
    The only reason the Pak military is not shooting these drones down, though they are itching to do so, is because it will be a declaration of war. They surely are training the Talib/AQ to do just that.

  • KnightHawk says:

    Just want to to ditto the sentiments of MM & Charley.
    I fear these will ultimately will not be used for the purposes of attacking the Taliban.

  • Scott says:

    I fear we’ve given more away than we’re likely to get back in return. I’d love to see the Pakistan military prove me wrong.

  • Kannan says:

    Pak already has “Shadow” type tactical UAVs. Asking for Predator/Reaper is just a diplomatic defensive mechanism to deflect US pressure to crack down on HQN & QST & create a media spectacle to change the current debate narrative in jingoistic/tabloid grade Pak media. Transferring armed-MALE UAV is a breach of its a non-starter. Though, Pak possession of high-resolution optoelectronic and SAR payloads & low-RCS US UAV should be worrying for India.

  • Raven says:

    I tried to find some official reaction from India (through Indian media) but don’t seem to find any. It’s a non-news in most web sites. How is this being played casually by India? I wonder…

  • Ahmad Tariq says:

    I think bringing murderous leaders like Narendra Modi would give Pakistan a clear outlook of what India’s foreign policy is, replicating the massacre of Gujarat and religious violence.
    While it is true that Pakistan will use UAVs for the Pak-Afghan border, there is not much reason to suspect if the UAVs would be really helpful in monitoring the Pak-India border as Pakistan has better reconnaisance technology to do that.

  • Charley says:

    As expected … Suspected US drone crashes in North Waziristan
    Local resident Saudur Rehman says he heard gunfire just before he saw the drone crash and local tribesmen were congratulating each other for shooting it down.

  • Tariq:
    The world has increasingly clear understanding of Pakistan’s foreign policy. It is a jihad-centric one directed at conducting genocide in the name of a religion to advance the frontier’s of Islam.
    For instance, in 1971, the Pakistani army in the then East Pakistan was issued written orders to “kill the Hindus.” They did, by butchering hundreds of thousands, if not millions of non-Muslims.
    9/11 attacks showed that even a great power has weaknesses and it can be humbled.
    Pakistan is not a great power, and it has got many many weaknesses…

  • Abheek says:

    Tariq – After a long while India has a strong leader in Narendra Modi who has the guts to pay back in the same coin, unlike the stupid gandhian leaders that are presently ruling India… no doubt jihadis and their supporters are getting edgy …and about the US technology, it will be used against us and/ or will be given to chinese for reverse engineering .. don’t know when the western world will realise the perils of associating with pakistan

  • T Ruth says:

    Raven, Gates would’ve been foolish to not have let the Indians know en route to Pakistan. Maybe there is an understanding? Maybe it involves Indians getting a parallel feed?
    At any rate not being armed means that the Americans do mistrust their Pak ally and thats the important and healthy thing…
    I’m no military expert but i do expect this whole thing to be a sop. Also we don’t know what strings are attached so it may not happen?


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